It’s winter, so while the swimming pool isn’t available as an instant boredom buster—and it’ll take more than donning flip-flops for your child to head outdoors—there are a plethora of ways to still enjoy the frosty outdoors during the seemingly endless winter months.
In her book Winter Play Day, author Nancy Castaldo suggests several outdoor activities to keep your child physically active during the season. A Girl Scout leader for 13 years, Castaldo wrote the book after completing the “Frosty Fun Badge” with her troop. “The winter went on a lot longer in our upstate New York town,” she says. “I had to come up with lots of other activities to keep my troop busy!”
Castaldo offers a variety of winter activities, such as snow painting with your kids. Using clear spray bottles filled with tap water and a few drops each of food coloring, she says to begin by using a stick to mark off a square of snow. Using the marked area as a winter art “canvas, let the kids begin their snow decorating!
“You can create your own snowy masterpieces!” she says. “Not only is this fun, but you could also share a conversation with your children about mixing colors and creating new hues.” Don’t forget to take photos, she suggests, because this outdoor artwork can’t be brought inside and hung on the fridge.
More Fun in the Snow
Castaldo, who also penned The Little Hands Nature Book: Earth, Sky, Critters, & More, suggests holding a scavenger hunt incorporating the nature in your backyard.
“Have them look for things such as a bush with red berries, a pinecone, a bird, an icicle, a fir tree, and a squirrel,” she says. Your child can make a checklist and find everything on it, or have some friendly competition with a pal to see who can find everything on their list first.
And don’t forget the classic snowy winter activities. Castaldo says building good old-fashioned snow castles can be made easier by using sand shovels and pails, paper cups, and plastic food storage containers. The paper cups can aid in scooping snow into the food containers, and the containers can then serve as molds for the castle’s building blocks.
Making snow angels is a wintertime must! Make it a fun competition by seeing which child can make the best, most-intact angel. Follow that exercise with a snowman-building contest.
Before long, you’ll see that being outside in the cold and engaging in physical activity won’t seem like a chore to your child. Instead, she’ll be happily rushing around trying to find the perfect set of sticks for a snowman’s arms or molding the perfect square for her snow castle.
Abigail Forget is a student at Fordham University and an intern with SchoolFamily.com.